A build from forum user ForgettableNPC recently caught my eye.
One day he mused about a Monk with the maximum Dodge bonus possible. He admittedly degenerated his idea to Acrobat build with a touch of Monk and Fighter.
But I wanted to take up his cause, since, being me, I’m all about maximizing the central class traits. What is the maximum Dodge that a Monk can attain without multiclassing? And, like war, what is it good for?
Tears to Thousands of Eyes
Dodge bonus, to review for any newbies, is part of a character’s miss-chance defenses, including Concealment (that’s often Blur), Incorporeality (that’s “Ghostly”) and Evasion (reflex-based). These passive defenses simply reduce the chance of damage by a certain type of attack. In the case of Dodge bonus, the higher your percentage, the less chance that physical attacks (melee or ranged) from enemies will hit you.
Dodge doesn’t help against traps or magic attacks–that’s for Evasion and Improved Evasion, a feat reserved for those who wear light- or no armor.
A character’s Dodge bonus are adjusted by a few factors.
- What are you wearing? (heavy breathing)
- Classes such as Rogues and Rangers, who can wear light armor, are designed to allow a higher Dodge bonus maximum, or “cap,” over classes that wear medium or heavy armor. The denser your armor, the less your maximum dexterity bonus, which not only limits how much AC bonus you gain from your DEX modifier, but also your maximum Dodge cap.
- Who are you? (Ooh-ooh, ooh -ooh)
- Without any armor, any character has a natural 25% maximum cap–but this can be increased depending on the character’s race, class, enhancements and some items. Halflings gain natural enhancements that increase their Dodge cap. Classes can also gain natural, stacking Dodge bonuses that can override the default cap. Monks gain up to 6% Dodge that stacks with items or enhancements, such as Ocean Stance.
- Are you a Swashbuckler, Kensei, Ninja Spy, Shintao or Tempest Ranger?
- Each of these class tree’s enhancements have training that can raise your natural Dodge cap. Note that the Ninja Spy and Kensei enhancements are identical and do not stack, nor do they stack with the Tempest counterpart.
- Are you in a level 43 or higher guild?
- The Fencing Master guild amenity buff adds 2% to your Dodge cap.
Make Him Disabled, Bitter and Mean
It’s bad enough, as a Monk, that your defenses aren’t naturally stronger than a Fighter. But, unlike a Fighter, some tranquil contemplation while haggling with your dojo’s quartermaster and trainer might find you items and techniques to support your natural Dodge bonus.
Let’s use a Halfling Ninja Spy here in my example. Unlike the Shintao, ninjas don’t need to train two enhancements to gain a Dodge bonus. Shintao’s Meditation of War first debuffs your cap before the tree’s last core ability offsets this, giving you no penalty, but also leaves you no benefit.
(I know a Drow could have 1% Dodge better than the Halfling. I learned his after all these calculations were made below. So keep that in mind but, also note the cap issue ahead.)
We’ll start with training our shadowy kunoichi with enhancements and granted feats that she can use towards Dodge once she reached level 20. After each item. I show the Dodge and cap as it changes.
Default Monk: 6% Dodge (through Flurry of Blows granted feat), 25% Dodge cap
- Nimble Reaction (Tier 2 Halfling enhancement): 3% to Dodge cap.
- Dodge cap: 28%
- Flurry of Blows (class feat): All Monks gain 6% untyped Dodge bonus by level 20.
- Dodge: 6%, Cap 28%
- Improved Dodge (Tier 3 Halfling enhancement): 3% Dodge.
- Dodge: 9%, Cap: 28%
- Ultimate Ocean Stance (granted feat, level 18): You gain a stacking 4% Dodge bonus.
- Dodge 13%, Cap 28%
- Agility (tier 2 Ninja Spy): 3% Dodge cap.
- Dodge 13%, 31% Cap.
- Acrobatic (Tier 1 Ninja Spy): 3% Dodge.
- Dodge 16%, 31% Cap.
I’m omitting Halfling Agility as this is a temporary boost. We’ll just concern ourselves with boosts that can be sustained.
That’s not a bad number at all: 16% standing Dodge with training alone as a completely naked Halfling*** and no selected feats yet.
Let’s add the only feats that give more standing Dodge.
- Dodge (feat): 3%
- Base: 19%
- Mobility: 2%
- Base: 21%
- Spring Attack: 2%
- Base: 23%
Still naked, that’s a base 23% Dodge. Hardly impossible or impractical number of trainable feats that still leave a player to choose combat related feats such as Two Weapon Fighting and Improved Critical.
***The author of this blog or its agents are not responsible for any costs for mental counseling, loss of income, time you'll never get back or images seen that can't be unseen as a result of this description.
Now let’s put some clothing on that perky, cold little lass.
(I said lass.)
Friend Only to the Undertaker
Virtually all gear that provides extra Dodge are enhancement bonuses. So, only the highest bonus from one of your items will apply to your general bonus.
By level 20, the highest loot-generated Dodge item you can wield has a 6% enhancement bonus. There are exceptions, such as the level 15 Skirmisher’s Locket (8%) or the venerable Icy Raiment (also 8%). I’ll stick with the commonly available loot-generated item as, as you’ll see, finding enough Dodge bonus itself isn’t the real problem.
So your final total for this Heroic Halfling is a base of 29% Dodge with a 31% cap. That fits exactly what I’ve seen in past and current lives with my ninjas Ryncletica, Kiricletica and Szyncletica. For level 20, that’s extremely impressive Dodge.
And now, let’s see if any Epic Destiny or gear could make this better.
Good God, Say it Again!
The two natural destinies immediately available to a first-life ninja are Grandmaster of Flowers and Shadowdancer. Let’s calculate both, and then factor in an opened Twist of Fate slot so that any Twistable ability from one destiny could benefit an active destiny, if any exist.
Grandmaster of Flowers:
- Perfect Balance (tier 1): 3%
- Walking with Waves (tier 3, only while in Ocean Stance): 3%
I’m ignoring the temporary 25% 6-second temporary bonus of the tier 6 ability, A Scattering of Petals for purposes of standing Dodge calculations and also because it can’t be Twisted.
So a Grandmaster of Flowers ninja has a potential base of 35%. But their cap remains fixed at 31%, so that’s as far as that goes.
- Untouchable (tier 5): Gain 1% Dodge per each Shadow Charge (maximum trainable is 7): 7% Dodge
I’m ignoring Meld into Darkness for the same reasons as A Scattering of Petals.
So a Shadowdancer has the highest additional epic Dodge of 7% for a potential 36%, but the cap still limits the total to 31%.
As for Epic feats, Combat Archery adds 2% Dodge along with its 1 weapon die damage bonus while using a bow. Still doesn’t help the cap.
Are there any other destinies that can add more Dodge or, most importantly, increases the cap for a Ninja Spy?
Yes to extra Dodge, but they would be very, very expensive to train as a Twisted ability, requiring at least 10 Fate points just to unlock and upgrade your first Twist slot to use tier 4 abilities, such as Echoes of the Ancestors-Martial, a tier 4 Fatesinger ability. However, I found no other destiny to help raise the Dodge cap past 31% for a Halfling Ninja Spy.
She could now wear Epic Dodge enhancement gear, which can appear with up to an 11% bonus, adding 5% more from a Heroic item to a potential of 41% or 42% Dodge for Grandmaster of Flowers or Shadowdancer, respectively. Still, the cap limits the effectiveness to 31%.
So let’s add the only other cap-raising option. This Halfling lass is in a level 103 guild. They have the Fencing Master ship buff for a 2% cap increase, raising Dodge cap to 33%.
So What is it Good For?
The “winner:” Any non-Halfling ninja, with all the Heroic class training alone listed, without Twisting a thing, wearing the highest Dodge enhancement item, and using all available Dodge options in either Shadowdancer or Grandmaster of Flowers , can have a 28% Dodge cap.
Be a Halfling and train it’s abilities, and you gain a 31% cap. Be in the right guild, and it’s 33%.
If the cap could go further, a Halfling ninja Shadowdancer would see a standing 42% potential.
My math can suck. If you see an error, shout out. Other hidden effects also generate Dodge nowadays without many of us thinking about, so these Dodge generation numbers are always sketchy, although the cap generation is quite clear.
As the forum thread notes, other classes, races and training can reach a higher Dodge and cap, especially with the incredible bonuses to both Dodge and Dodge caps in the Rogue Thief-Acrobat tree. The highest standing cap possible anywhere from anything appears to be 45%. Several players report that the temporary Dodge overrides that give 50 or even 100% Dodge for a few seconds tend to be bugged, so caveat emptor. All of my calculations deal with a full ninja, not a multiclassed one. There are other threads and blogs that detail how to twink every last drop of defense, offense and what-have-you by multiclassing. This blog ain’t it.
I don’t know of any past-live feats or abilities you gain that could help further. As the thread notes, it’s the cap, not Dodge itself, that’s hardest to maximize.
Combined with all other miss-chances, a ninja can survive pretty well. In fact, in the next post, I’ll update you with the revival of the ninja-aligned Zen Archery build and how Dodge plays an important role in her defense.